Yesterday, my friend Ann turned 42. I don't think she'd mind me revealing that since to celebrate she invited anyone who wanted to come along to join her on all or part of a 42K (26.2 mile) birthday run. Since I needed to get ten miles in this weekend on Sunday anyway and I was able to coax the GPs (grandparents) into letting the kids spend the night, I said I would join her.
My plan was to be there at the start of the run at 7 a.m. Unfortunately, I timed the 45-minute drive a little too closely, and this didn't allow for any errors. So, when I had to turn back to get my Garmin only a few blocks from my house, I already knew I was in trouble. Getting to the University of Wisconsin Green Bay (UWGB) campus, which I had never visited, only sealed the deal. I hadn't asked enough questions on where exactly I was going; had understood this parking lot, not that one. So, I ended up circling around for quite a bit looking for cars with running stickers on them before finally deciding to park at a little cut-out right next to the trail.
I felt a little funny starting on my own, but I could clearly see the trail from my car. And, since I had made the drive, I was determined I would do the run with or without others. Besides, I figured I had simply parked in the wrong spot and knew there was a good chance I would a) either run into my friend on the trail or b) come across her car somewhere.
|Obviously I didn't feel so funny at the start that|
I couldn't take a self-portrait.
|The deep, dark woods.|
So, I locked things up, grabbed my Gatorade and Garmin and headed out. Right away the trail dipped a bit into the woods, going under the road I had just driven and then disappeared into the trees on the far side. It ran right alongside the Bay of Green Bay for a bit, and while it was beautiful, I couldn't shake the creep factor of being alone on a trail I didn't know. (I had no idea where it was taking me!) As it turned out, it took me to Ann's car. Before I had even run a mile, I popped out into a parking area right next to the water and something called Lambeau Cabin (so, that is what Ann meant by Curly's Cottage; I had wondered.)
Now, having found Ann's car, I decided to trot back the way I had come to move my car. That way, at least they would know I was there. In doing so, I ran right into Ann and another friend of hers only a hundred yards or so down the trail. They kept me company on the run to my car, before running back to where they had parked. I drove my car to the new parking area and met them there. After regaling them with my morning's misadventures so far, we took off.
|Bay of Green Bay|
As for my run, it was fantastic. It was tougher for me from a pace standpoint. I really had wanted to go between 10 and 10:30 pace, but with the others, it ended up averaging out to 9:55. The others in the group consisted more of hardcore marathoners and ultra runners, so for them this was nothing more than a FUN long run. They didn't care about pace at all and were happy to keep me company as I tried to push myself to keep going. Trust me, I wanted to take a lot more walk breaks than we did, but I tried to challenge myself. I am sure I slowed them down a lot, and despite telling them to go on - leave me behind, I was secretly grateful when they didn't. The conversation was great, and before I knew it ten miles was DONE. I have to say, I have never experienced ten miles go by so quickly before.
|Peeps for the Peeps.|
|Scary picture of me mid-run with the birthday girl.|
|Stretching afterward. Thank goodness for|
the picnic blanket in the back of the car.
I needed to stretch before hopping in the car
for the drive back.
Have you ever celebrated anything with a run?